Golden Gate, strait, 4 mi (6.4 km) long and 1 to 2 mi (1.6–3.2 km) wide, linking San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean. It was discovered in 1579 by the English explorer Sir Francis Drake. Known as the Golden Gate before the California gold rush, its name became popular during this period because of its mineral connotation. The strait is the drowned mouth of the united Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and forms an excellent channel, c.400 ft (120 m) deep, into San Francisco Bay. Adorning the strait is the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.